Getting Started: Beasts of Chaos

At Goonhammer we’ve devoted a lot of words to talking about how to compete and take your game to the next level. In “Getting Started,” we look at how to get started with an army – the basics you need to know, how to start collecting models that will leave you with a serviceable army, and what the best deals are.

If you’re looking for an army that was transported almost directly from the Old World and given a few new toys, Beasts of Chaos are an excellent pick. They are a fast army with summoning and spell-slinging, sporting a huge miniature range.


Who are the Beasts of Chaos?

The Beasts of Chaos are warped visions of man and animal, consumed by hatred and rage. Their entire culture subsists on anarchy, living to fight anyone, including other Beasts. They are called the true children of Chaos, being the malformed manifestation of Chaos in the mortal realms. Beasts live in the wild on the edge of any settlements – in the forests, jungles, and rocky outcroppings. Due to their primal connection with the Dark Gods, they can take many forms – some almost man-like but with savage strength, others resembling twisted chaos spawn with numerous eyes and hooves.

Beasts of Chaos have a huge miniature range due to them being a large fixture in the Old World. They have the standard faun-like gors and ungors, the minotaur-like Bullgors, the Dragon Ogors, and Tzeentchian-bird Tzaangors, along with a few large beasts. This gives you a wide range of kits to select and specialize if you like.

Definitely invest in movement trays. Models painted by Mugginns

Army Strengths

  • Tons of models on the board – Gors, ungors, and bestigors are all cheap bodies to throw down on the board and take objectives. You’ll have a ton of them.
  • Huge model range – being an Old World faction means they have a ton of models to choose from, plus the new Tzaangor models from Tzeentch that add variety.
  • Really fast – most Beasts models have a fast movement speed and many can run and charge.

Army Weaknesses

  • Weak armor – Beasts’ armor saves are usually 5+ or 6+, even on the big monsters. You’ll have mostly one-wound infantry unless you use a ton of Bullgors or Dragon Ogors.
  • Not a lot of hitting power – there aren’t many ways to spam mortal wounds or high Rend.
  • Not many ranged attacks – Ungor raiders are neat, but other than that there ain’t much.


What do I need to play?

  • Core Rulebook – You’ll need this to know how to play the game. We recommend picking up the Gaming Book which combines the core rules along with rules updates from the General’s Handbook.
  • Beasts of Chaos Battletome – Make sure to grab this as you’ll need to understand all the warscrolls, battalions, alliance rules, etc . It also has sweet art and some great lore in it.
  • Azyr App  or Warscroll Builder – I would definitely recommend Azyr for editing armies on the go or when you have a harebrained idea. Warscroll builder site is great too.
  • Beasts of Chaos Warscroll Cards – if you can find these on eBay or in a store, I find them invaluable. They’re easy to read and quick when you’re playing a game.
  • The Herdstone – a magical piece of terrain that you can take for zero points. More on this later.


Starting Your Army

Getting started box contents. Credit: Games Workshop

The Start Collecting box for Beasts of Chaos is an immense value. This will lead you down the path of Brayherds (Gors, Ungors, Bestigors) with a little Warherd thrown in (Cygor or Ghorgon). In this box you’ll find:

  • Ten Bestigors
  • Ten Ungors (raiders or regular)
  • One Cygor/Ghorgon
  • One Great Bray-Shaman

This gives you a general and two starts to really useful units. The Bestigors will be a unit that most generals will want for hard hitting power, and the Ungors will be useful either as raiders in a mass shooting unit or objective holders.

The Cygor/Ghorgon are amazing minis, but really not useful for much other than summoning later in the game. More on that later.

Two of these boxes shoudl give you a pretty good start – Bestigors are battleline when you select a Great Bray as a general and Ungors (not raiders) are core always. If you used one Ghorgon you’d be at ~720 points and have three battleline units (20 Bestigors, 10 ungors, 10 ungors).

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Cygors painted by Mugginns.

The Herdstone is what you’ll need next. This piece of terrain ($35) is essential to your army. Put a Great Bray-Shaman and one unit of 10 Ungors next to it (in your deployment zone) and each turn throw D3 Ungors into the fire. You get 1 Primordial Call point per mortal wound inflicted on the unit and an additional point for free every turn. If you want to summon 10 more Ungors, you need 3 points. 3 Tzaangor Enlightened on Discs are 7, while a Chimera is 10. There are a lot more things to summon; these are just some of the ones I commonly use.

The Herdstone does a cool debuff to enemy models that helps you achieve your goal of “mangling every enemy in sight”: On the first turn, enemy units within (not wholly) 6″ of the Herdstone are -1 to their armor saves. On turn two, it’s 12″; turn three 18″, etc. This will help you eventually and it’ll be game changing. Your own units which are wholly within that same bubble are immune to battleshock.

I would also highly suggest the Beasts of Chaos Endless Spells ($35). The Wildfire Taurus in particular is just extremely useful:  It sets up wholly within 12″ of the caster, flies 12″, and any unit that it moves over or ends up within 1″ of suffers D3 mortal wounds (or D6 if it’s a unit of 10+ models) and that unit has to fight last in the next fight phase. During this time of the Activation Wars™ this is just great, and the spell casts on six which makes it easier to cast (and more reliable) than a lot of other endless spells.


Credit: Games Workshop

Choosing a Greatfray

Greatfrays are similar to Stormcast Chambers – they allow you to specialize your army a little more. They’re not entirely necessary, but I find them to be pretty cool, and also may guide your choices later on when expanding your army.

  • The Allherd is basically the default Greatfray. The main play style for these guys is focused on summoning. For one command point you gain one Primordial Call point. You can also re-roll charge rolls for units within 18″ of your general when he or she is in combat, but that is definitely more situational. If you’re going Allherd, you’ll want to pick up extra units in order to summon them to the battlefield later. Ungors, Tzaangors, etc.
  • Dark Walkers are the Ambush Greatfray. Ambush is already something that Brayherds can do, but to be honest I almost never use it (end of first Movement phase – set up wholly within 6″ of the edge of the battlefield and more than 9″ from any enemies). This Greatfray grants that ability to Warherds (Bullgors, Cygors, Ghorgons) and Thunderscorn (Dragon Ogors) and allows you to ambush in the second turn instead of the first. This does some really funny stuff with Ghorgons running in the backfield and Cygors shooting with a specific battalion benefit, but I don’t rate it super highly. Your units also gain +1 Run when wholly within 12″ of the general, making our already fast units even faster. If going this route, I would definitely suggest more Ungor Raiders as you can ambush them in on the second turn and hope to shoot more targets that have been softened up a bit.
  • Gavespawn – this is the one I use 24/7 (unless I’m playing a smaller list like 1000 points, then I use Allherd for the summoning bonus). Your characters become Chaos Spawn when they die on a roll of a 2+ which is useful because of their Command Ability – Propagator of Devolution. This allows you to spend command points (without having a hero around, just Spawn) to add 1 to the Attacks of a unit wholly within 12″ of the Spawn. You can do this multiple times if required, which makes Bestigors absolutely nuts. It stacks really well with units with multiple attack profiles – like Tzaangor Enlightened. The general gains the ability to unbind a spell, or add ones unbind if they have it already. One character gains the Mutating Gnarlblade artefact that adds 2 to the damage of their weapon, making Beastlords an absolute blender. If you’re going the route of Gavespawn, pick up a spawn box and units you’re going to want to buff up with extra attacks (I suggest Bestigors and Enlightened).

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Mugginns’ army with Slaaneshi teammate at the Michigan GT.

Expanding your Army

Where you go next depends on what you want to do. We’ll be looking at how to play Beasts of Chaos competitively in a future Start Competing article. Competitive armies tend to change as new armies and rules are released, and what’s “good” will change often. For now, let’s focus on where you want to take your army and how to build toward that vision.


If you’re rolling with Gavespawn, you’ll want a Beastlord for sure. The current models are resin reproductions of old metals, so which makes them harder to get ahold of. Fortunately, there are plenty of sweet alternatives from other companies. Because Ungors are so cheap points-wise, you’ll probably have to get at least 20 more Ungor models to fill out some battleline / summoning units. Gors are great models and I love their fluff, but they’re basically useless right now since Ungors are cheaper and do the same thing. I’d also suggest adding at least ten more Bestigors as they’re our best hitting fast melee units for a decent points cost.

If you’re into Tzaangors (some people prefer not to use the new Tzeentch stuff, going only with Old World models – not me), I highly recommend a Tzaangor Shaman on disc. While their built-in spell is not great, they do have the ability to cast an additional spell once per game (the only way to get a two-spell caster in our army) and also they get re-rolls for that spell. They also add huge benefits to Tzaangor Enlightened and Skyfires that makes this model an auto-take if you’re using those guys.

Speaking of, I really rate Tzaangor Enlightened highly in this army even after their points increases of late. They’re really fast and hit SUPER HARD. I would definitely recommend at least one box and maybe two of them. Skyfires are cool but just don’t do a whole lot; sometimes they’re fun for late-game summoning to shoot off enemy units on objectives. The upside however is that these are relatively new GW models so they’re beautiful.

Tzaangor Shaman painted by Mugginns.


Bullgors are the multi-wound infantry we get and they’re fun but I can’t recommend them for a starter army. They just don’t do a whole lot and don’t synergize well with the rest of the army. There is also the Doombull which is a Hero that hits really hard and is really fast, but I’m still not sure you’d want to spend huge points on Heroes.

Cygors are one of the monsters you can get in the Start Collecting! and they’re great models but the math on them is just abysmal. They are an artillery beast that only hits on 4+ with one shot that ranges down as it gets damaged. If you get two Start Collecting! boxes it’s worth making one for summoning and maybe betting on a future rules/stats boost but right now they’re just not worth it.

Ghorgons are also sweet models that have a ton of attacks. I like them a lot as summoned units late game if you need a big monster to shift something off of an objective. They have a Swallow Whole ability that can pick out standard bearers and stuff to just kill them, which is really funny.

Dragon Ogor Shaggoth painted by Mugginns.


Dragon Ogors are great models, having their own plastic kits that are pretty varied, but again they’re just not great. You’re almost always better spending the points on Bestigors or Tzaangor Enlightened if you’re looking for hard-hitting stuff. Shaggoths are really interesting Hero choices with high survivability and some really cool spells – they’re resin so if you can find one, definitely pick it up!

Tzaangor Skyfires by Mugginns.


List Building

Here are two lists that can look at building toward if you start with two Start Collecting! boxes plus a few extra units. I’ve personally used all these units and this is what I think suits my style, but feel free to season to taste as you get a feel for the army and what you like.

Enlightened + Shamans

With this list you’re using a base of Herdstone / Great Bray / Ungors to gain summoning points while your Bestigors and Enlightened + Shaman zip across the field to fight stuff. Get enough summoning points to summon some more ungors / bestigors for objectives or hold onto them and summon a ghorgon or something fun later on.

Allegiance: Beasts of Chaos
– Greatfray: Allherd

Great-Bray Shaman (100)
– General
– Command Trait : Dominator
– Artefact : Blade of the Desecrator
– Lore of the Twisted Wilds : Vicious Stranglethorns
Tzaangor Shaman (150)
– Lore of the Twisted Wilds : Tendrils of Atrophy

20 x Bestigors (240)
10 x Ungors (60)
– Mauls & Half-Shields
10 x Ungors (60)
– Mauls & Half-Shields
6 x Tzaangor Enlightened on Disc (360)

TOTAL: 970/1000

Shamans + Bestigors

This list uses more traditional Beasts models. I’d save your extra ghorgon/cygor for summoning and throw down some more Bestigors to run across the field and hit stuff. Raiders can be used to ambush backline objective holders and shoot, but don’t rely on them a ton. Use the Wildfire Taurus to boost your Bestigors going in.

Allegiance: Beasts of Chaos
– Greatfray: Allherd

Great-Bray Shaman (100)
– General
– Command Trait : Dominator
– Artefact : Blade of the Desecrator
– Lore of the Twisted Wilds : Vicious Stranglethorns
Great-Bray Shaman (100)
– Lore of the Twisted Wilds : Tendrils of Atrophy

20 x Bestigors (240)
10 x Ungors (60)
– Mauls & Half-Shields
10 x Ungors (60)
– Mauls & Half-Shields
10 x Bestigors (120)
10 x Ungor Raiders (80)

Ghorgon (160)

Wildfire Taurus (80)

Where to go from here?

You’re likely going to be painting goatmen for a while with all the horde units we have. There are a few battalions worth looking at – specifically Desolating Broodherd for extra shooty Ungor Raiders (30+ dudes) in enemy DZs. The Depraved Drove Slaanesh battalion is also really cool but basically turns your army into a Slaanesh army with some goat troops.

If you haven’t tried Tzaangors yet, I’d definitely recommend expanding with those. Dragon Ogors and Bullgors are cool kits and fun to paint, so they could be fun to experiment with.

If you have some questions or think I haven’t explained something well, please drop us a line at or hit us up in the comments below or on Social Media. Have a good one!